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Playbill

 

How the Egyptian Ritual Play Worked:

 This plan of the Temple at Luxor by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz suggests the design of the ritual play. The temple itself mirrors the shape of the human body. Specific rooms correspond to parts of the body, and their chakras, or energy centers, which were as well under- stood by the ancient Egyptians as by their fellow adepts in ancient India. We can imagine how the priest and priestess/performers might have begun the play by leading the celebrants-- all much too actively engaged to be merely a passive "audience" -- into the large lower area corresponding to the legs and the root chakra at the base of the spine. The red colors of the root chakra were the dominant color of costumes, curtains and ritual ob- jects. Songs and vigorous, very rhythmic earthy movements were accompanied by drums, bells, gongs and other instruments of the percussion family, which is associated with the root chakra. Incense, aromatic oils, herb teas and ritual foods would activate the root center even further.

From the story of the Moon and the Serpent, respective planet and symbol of the root chakra, the play went next to the orange zone of the navel, or birth chakra. To bowed strings played with the caressing energy of Venus. To new dances, aromas and flavors. Then to the yellow zone, and so on through the temple and up the energy column of the body until every chakra was open and activated, and everyone in the play was cleansed, energized and spiritually tuned.
 After two hours of this, all the celebrants must have come out of the temple buzzing from toe to crown, and very likely would have been quite happy to come back and enjoy this experience again. Is it any wonder that the Egyptian ritual play was the longest-running religious rite in history, with a run of some 4,000 years from opening night until the final curtain?

Pity and Fear, and Everything Else in the Beaker and Amphora of the Heart

 We can envision this a little more clearly by recalling that Greek tragedy was designed, in Aristotle's definitive view, to arouse as powerfully as possible the emotions of pity and fear, and to purge them in a catharsis that would leave behind, ideally, only the high spiritual frequency of serenity. If we can envision a kind of superdrama, both tragedy and comedy, that stimulated the entire gamut of human emotions, and left all participants at the end virtually floating and buzzing in an exalted state of love, serenity and joy, then we can imagine how healing and transforming the Egyptian ritual play might have been when it worked to perfection. If many Egyptians were able to experience such powerfully cleansing fusions of theatre and worship several times each year, it is small wonder that their culture and civilization have lasted as long as they have. They have begun to echo even louder since Chiron -- planet of the holistic Wounded Healer-- was first detected in 1977, when today's ongoing rediscovery of lost ancient Egyptian wisdoms began to gain momentum.

 

Multisensory Theatre in the Transformance Space

 

This version of the Isis and Osiris story aims to use all the main sensory elements of the Egyptian ritual play, and deliver them in an interactive performance arena called the Transformance Space. Imagine a black box theater, and then increase it in size into an open room large enough that it can hold hundreds of people, and allow them all to move together, or to clear large open areas for scenes played by the main cast. There is no fixed seating, though the Space is equipped with mobile seats and cushions. There are movable platforms and large set pieces such as boats and temple pylons, but there is almost no solid furniture.
Scenes and objects are created wherever possible by video projections, cloth curtains and paintings, and above all by The Play of Light. Live and recorded music will permeate the Transformance Space through wall-mounted speakers and also through transducer speakers mounted in the floor, so that vibrations of sound can enter the bodies of performers and audience through the soles of their feet, and through other parts of their bodies that touch the floor. The Transformance Space also has diffusers and exhaust fans for introducing and extracting aromas, and facilities for preparing and serving herbal teas and other food and drink.
Click on Transformance Space for a larger version of the diagram shown above.

 

Theatre of Light

 

   The most distinctive production feature of When It Rained in Egypt is its state-of-the-art techno- logy of light. The Transformance Space will be lit with color healing filters as well as conventional stage gels. Some of the actors' costumes will be made of iridescent fabrics that reflect light and color. Lasers will create sacred geometric shapes when needed, and video cameras will bounce 3D computer graphic images off concave wall surfaces to create multi- colored, moving 3D light images in the air above the main playing areas.
   In the play script these light images are called "KHU", from the Egyptian word for "light body". The KHU images are absolutely essential to a fully-realized performance of the play because the Neters or "gods" who are the main characters of the piece are able to move freely between the earth realm of physical bodies and the spirit realm of light. Throughout the play the Neters appear in two forms: as human bodies who move on the floor of the Space, represented by actors; and as light images appearing in the upper level of the Space, well above the heads of performers and audience. The Neters usually enter first as KHU images in the upper space, then vanish and reappear at once below as actors and actresses make their entrances on the floor. Many exits work the same way, but in reverse.
   The point of this elaborate Play of Light is not only to make the show more spectacular. The KHU are designed above all to reinforce the play's underlying premises: the more light human beings can absorb into the cells of our bodies, the nearer we can approach our free, Divine potential as energy beings who are composed not of physical matter, but of light. In this way the play aims to assist what the Egyptians called the Will to the Light in building the light bodies of Celebrants who join the play.

 

The Play of Freedom:

Theatre of Empowerment

 

   When It Rained in Egypt is the first large-scale theatre piece to be created from the "holistic theatre" design of The Play of Freedom.

   This idea is subtitled The Theatre of Empowerment because it aims to create powerful experiences that combine ancient and modern technologies of art and science to get the play all the way into the cells of the body, flush out the ancient fear, guilt and pain, and lift the bodies and souls of performers and celebrants into power, freedom and a direct recognition of the inner divinity that unites all human and spiritual beings.

 

If you'd like to continue, we suggest these choices:

 

Go to the last page of the Playbill, and Meet the Characters

 

For Background, go to Stories of Thoth and Ma'at

 

Join Isis for a Conspiration before the Play

 

Or you can Choose from other Scenes

 

 

Copyright 2001 Dan Furst

 

 

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